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Unstructured play

Unstructured play

Watch how schools around Aotearoa are recognising the value of play.

Video transcript Unstructured Play 

The Magic Play Box does exactly what it says on the tin: It’s a box of abstract, recycled materials that kids can use to dream up magical concoctions that are far from their original form. It’s an initiative that was trialled in Waitākere as part of the Play.Sport pilot.

Activators, Greg Gurau and Casey Redman, set up a trial of this activity - which they called ‘The Magic Play Box, utilising boxes donated from the local orchard and filling them with bits of old pipes, tyres, chairs and more’. It was so popular that the Box was trialled in ten out of the fifteen Waitākere Play.Sport primary schools from March through to September 2019.

Similarly, the Play Pod in Upper Hutt had an overwhelmingly positive response. While schools had the Play Pod within their grounds, teachers took workshops on the benefits of ‘Play’ - putting a Play lens over their insights and observations. They found that their learners wanted something different than what they’d initially thought.

Unleashing their creativity on the materials helped learners focus in the classroom. The schools that had concerns about behavioural problems saw that kids who were introverted or isolated had their own space to play and develop social skills.

As a result, a number of Primary Schools in Upper Hutt have developed their own collections of loose parts and redesigned their outdoor spaces in response to what they were observing with their kids. Pinehaven Primary School even developed a Play Policy, which outlines the importance of Play in their children’s development and wellbeing and how the school can support the needs of their learners.

In Waitakere, the Magic Play Box is now a blossoming social enterprise supported by its parent organisation, Sport Waitakere.

"It's usually the kids that don't shine, that are happy to hang back, then all of a sudden you give them something different and they just go crazy."

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